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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lost in Keelung

As if the problem of romanising street signs in Taiwan wasn't already bad enough, it seems that in Keelung (基隆) the situation is even worse. The problem is not over the use of Tongyong Pinyin, MPS 2 or any other variation that might be used in Taiwan. In Keelung some streets have their names romanised using the Taiwanese* pronunciation.

[more...]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Travels in Zhonghe and Yonghe

One of the best things about living in Taipei is that there are so many places to visit in and around the city. You could easily visit a different place every weekend for a whole year.

This morning I got up early and rode my bicycle out to Zhonghe. The first place I visited was the Yuantong Chan Temple (圓通禪寺). It is nestled in the mountains with a commanding view over Zhonghe and Taipei.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

David's Guide to Taiwan updated

I just updated my website David's Guide to Taiwan. The main updates are on the Taipei and Banqiao pages.

[more...]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Learning to read Chinese

One of the main goals that I have in Taiwan is to learn to read Chinese. I can already speak Mandarin to a reasonable level. However, it is frustrating not to be able to read much more than a map or a restaurant menu.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My new teaching job

I have been working in my new job for a little over three weeks now. So far everything has gone well, perhaps a little better than expected.

The two previous times I taught in Taiwan (1999 and 2002) I worked at Kojen (or ELSI as it used to be known). [more...]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Trip to Sanxia

After visiting Yingge the week before on Saturday I went to the town on the other side of the river, Sanxia (三峽). Sanxia looks like any other Taiwanese city with its high-rise apartment buildings and narrow streets crowded with shops. In the midst of this it is still possible to discover a little history and some beautiful artwork.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Book review: Far East Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary

Far East Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary
The Far East Book Co, Taipei, 2001
ISBN: 9576124638
Cost:NT$450 at PageOne Bookstore, Taipei

One of the best things about this dictionary is its compact size. It is easy to handle and not too heavy or bulky so you can easily carry it round and refer to it. All the characters are arranged in alphabetical order according to Hanyu Pinyin. There is a Hanyu Pinyin index [more...]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The dragon lion team

I came across this amazing performance by chance. It was at a small local temple in a narrow street in Zhonghe. The occassion was something to do with promoting a candidate in the local elections.

The performers had 龍獅團 (dragon lion team) [more...]

One night (betel nut) stand

The name of this betel nut stand is yīyèqíng (一葉情). It translates literally as "one leaf feeling". This is perhaps a reference to the leaf the betel nut is wrapped in. The character for leaf [more...]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The ceramics centre of Taiwan

On Sunday afternoon I took the train out to Yingge. I last went there a few years ago so I wanted to see how it had changed and visit the Ceramics Museum which had been built since my last visit.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The future of this blog

I started this blog a little over a year ago. I wasn't living in Taiwan at the time, but the blog was a good way for me to maintain my interest in Taiwan. I also saw the blog as being complementary to my website, David's Guide to Taiwan, which I had been maintaining for several years. The dynamic nature of blogging [more...]

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Reading tea leaves

Here are a few more examples of interesting word plays using Chinese characters.

The first one is the sign on a shop selling tea. The characters read as dìngshān cháyè. Hearing this read aloud it would be interpreted as Dingshan Tea Leaves (or perhaps just Dingshan Tea). However, [more...]

How to spell confusion

The Banqiao-Tucheng extension of the MRT is supposed to open at the end of this month. All the station entrances are now finished. It is interesting to note the signage that is used on the stations. The MRT, being based in Taipei City, uses Hanyu Pinyin for the romanisation of station names. However, Banqiao and Tucheng are in Taipei County where Tongyong Pinyin [more...]